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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame Hoops Heads West for 2023 Signing Class

November 9, 2022
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I-95 has treated Notre Dame well throughout the years, but Notre Dame went West this year for two key members of its 2023 signing class. 

Penn HS (Ind.) guard Markus Burton‍, Harvard Westlake (Calif.) guard Brady Dunlap‍ and Bixby (Okla.) guard Parker Friedrichsen‍ became official on Wednesday as they inked with the Irish basketball program. 

Mike Brey had few reservations about going West for the class as he trusted the conviction of his staff when making key recruiting decisions during the cycle. 

"I would put that on the staff that I have,” Brey said of getting off the East Coast. “They did a really good job evaluating. We've not done as much out West, but Brady started coming our way a little bit. Parker was a kid we always thought was a great fit.

“Certainly, we're excited about the local guy, Markus. I just didn't want to pass on a local guard. There's been so many guards. I told our guys, 'If it's close, we're taking him. Look at all the guards who have come starting with (Devin) Canady, (Demetrius) Jackson, (Jaden) Ivey and (Blake) Wesley.' I think he's going to be really good.” 

While Brey might have gotten out of his comfort zone, it was a decision that was needed and one he quickly embraced. 

"When you have staff that you hired and they're out there grinding in July - you're going down one road, but then things change,” Brey stated. “Those guys were pounding the table and said, 'Mike, you need to go to LA.' Let's go. 

"What did I do? I did Tulsa and LA the first two days. We went boom, boom right out of the gate. I think you're always flexible to go where you feel there's a fit and these kids were receptive to us. It is interesting to see us going West for this class." 

Burton was a name Brey was very familiar with, but the staff wanted to see how the four-star prospect performed on the summer circuit. 

It didn’t take long for Brey to be sold as he watched Burton drop 35 points in a win over Cathedral and 2023 target Xavier Booker‍ in June. 

"I first saw him against Cathedral in Indianapolis and he crushed it,” explained Brey. “He was great and he did a little bit of everything. He led. Anthony was with me and I said let's offer him. Anthony goes, 'Nope. Let's go watch him in Kansas City first.' Then I offered at halftime of the first game in Kansas City.” 

And if Brey wasn’t sold enough on Burton, the excitement levels reached new heights following a pickup game when the Penn start was on campus for a visit in September. 

"I'm thrilled to have him,” said Brey. "He's got to score a lot for his high school team, but what was interesting to watch in Kansas City and the first home football game he was here. He's getting into the lane and finding people. He doesn't do that as much at Penn because he has to score, but he can do that. 

"I always ask your old guys after pickup who they liked. Nate (Laszewski) goes I really liked Burton. I'm sold." 

When it comes to Dunlap, the 6-foot-7 forward has a skill set and size the Irish need at the position. The California native has the size to play the four, but also the athleticism and game to play the three. 

"The other two guys skillsets are certainly the ability to shoot the ball,” explained Brey. “We're losing some guys who can really stretch the floor and shoot it. They have the ability to shoot, but they really know how to play. One is a coach's son in Brady. He's got good size. He's got good athletic ability and he's coming off an ankle injury, which is why he was a bit hidden and we were able to get in there. He was offered early by Kansas and when he didn't play, they faded.” 

Friedrichsen might be the best shooter in the country, which is never a bad attribute to have in Brey’s guard-heavy offense. Yet, Brey was equally impressed with Friedrichsen’s ability to create plays with the ball in his hand. 

"Parker, I know he can shoot it, but I've been really impressed with his passing and seeing the floor,” said Brey. “They're both basketball IQ guys. They're both guys that need to get stronger and older, which we've seen that things before here. Because they can shoot it and know how to play and with what we're losing, we need them to be ready as freshmen." 

Notre Dame will be one of the oldest teams in the country this year, but when all three arrive next summer, Brey will have one of the youngest teams in the country. 

Brey didn’t rule out going after another high school player and the Transfer Portal will be an option, but all three are expected to come in and be ready for minutes next season. 

"Parker's high school coach and Brady's father really understood our program and how their skillset would really fit for us,” Brey said. “They can also do the math that there's a lot of guards leaving the building. There is playing time available when you look at our roster in practice and there's all these fifth-year seniors." 

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